Are you thinking about or currently selling insurance?
Are you looking for guidance on how to sell insurance successfully?
If this describes you, you’ve arrived at the perfect place!
In today’s article, I provide a COMPLETE overview of what selling insurance is really like.
My goal is to break down EVERYTHING about the selling insurance into 10, easy-to-understand modules.
So read the entire article to get a detailed overview on how to have a successful career selling insurance.
NOTE: Are you an aspiring or new insurance agent looking for more insight on how the insurance sales industry works? Check out my free New Insurance Agent Resource Guide to help answer many of your questions (as well as ones you didn’t know you had!).
- Career Benefits
- Life As An Agent
- Top Agent Qualities
- Sales Methods
- Max Opportunity
- Getting Started
Let’s get started!
Is Selling Insurance A Good Career Opportunity?
First, let’s discuss WHY learning how to sell insurance is a GREAT career choice.
Working and learning how to sell insurance provides a career opportunity that is second-to-none.
The most successful insurance salesmen experience incredible economic prosperity in combination with living lifestyles most people only dream of.
Let’s break down the top reasons to start a career selling insurance.
Working In Insurance Gives You Freedom
In most circumstances, selling insurance is TOTALLY unlike a typical career.
In Corporate America, your employer holds the puppet strings to your career.
You’re told when to work, who to work with, and what to say, regardless of whether or not you believe in the company’s mission and products.
For many people, you are forced to do a job you DON’T like that stifles autonomy, freedom of thought, and merit-based career advancement.
The good news is that a career in selling insurance is a fantastic opportunity, providing the EXACT opposite from a corporate job.
Unlike your job, insurance salesman are business owners.
They decide WHO they want to work with, WHEN they want to work, and HOW they want to run their business selling insurance.
Decide When And How You Work
Insurance agents LOVE the freedom of deciding how they want to work.
If you like the idea of selling life insurance, great!
Prefer to sell annuities instead? That’s fine, too!
After all, it’s YOUR business. And you have the power to choose how to go about your insurance sales career.
What about managing your works schedule?
There’s good news here, too.
Whether you want to work part-time selling insurance or full time, Insurance is sold all day, every day, and since you own your own insurance business, you can work around events like your kids’ extracurricular activities with ease.
For example, I have 4 kids that all do activities. Added, I train jiu-jitsu 5 days a week.
While it’s a juggle, I can manage this schedule with a little forethought and planning without negative consequences.
If you value…
- The ability to determine your own schedule,
- Deciding who you want to work with, and,
- Choosing for yourself the type of career path you want,
…A career in learning how to sell insurance allows for much easier than traditional jobs.
Do you have the “entrepreneurial spirit?”
If so, rest assured that learning how to sell insurance requires entrepreneurial effort from day 1!
Prior to learning how to sell insurance successfully, I owned a personal training business before getting involved in the insurance sales business.
And I can tell you the same entrepreneurial values – hard-work, self-discipline, working on improving – is exactly the same in selling insurance.
Own Your Own Business
If you’ve always wanted to own your own business… if you’ve wanted the benefits of entrepreneurship provides like freedom and income maximization… the insurance business offers it.
Entrepreneurship is found in various aspects of this business.
For example, you decide who you want to work with. You also can decide which market is best to target. And you create your own business plan.
Further, you choose which insurance companies to partner with, and what products to offer your prospects.
There is an ENORMOUS market of prospects to sell insurance, no matter what product you choose.
And the great thing is that insurance agencies have tested and vetted sales and marketing systems that are proven to work.
All you have to do is plug into the system, put the work in to find prospects, then help them with their insurance needs.
For example, in the final expense business, we have a proven selling and lead generation system that puts interested prospects in front of agents like you, day-in and day-out.
We know who these prospects are and how to target them. There’s no confusion or guesswork involved.
There Are MILLIONS Of Prospects
All I need are agents to learn my strategy and put it to work.
Believe it or not, there are final expense prospects literally waiting for somebody to show up and help them with their insurance needs.
And the same goes for other insurance products like mortgage protection, annuities, and Medicare.
Currently, millions of people need Medicare Supplemental coverage or Medicare Advantage plans.
Added, the number of prospects for Medicare are projected to DOUBLE from 2020 to 2040.
Plus, 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 for the next decade or two.
This is great as most seniors turning 65 start Medicare coverage, which is the first opportunity to help them with buy a supplementary health insurance policy like Medicare Supplements or Medicare Advantage.
And the good thing is that insurance sells well no matter the economic environment.
Passive Income Opportunity
Have you seen business opportunity advertisements discussing passive income earning opportunities?
While business influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk understandably give these passive income opportunities significant flack, the truth is the insurance business is the ORIGINAL passive income opportunity.
And while you’ll have to work years to develop a significant passive income, it’s something that IS achievable.
What Is Passive Income?
Basically, you earn income without an active effort.
Of course, you do some work upfront, of course. =)
With passive income products and services, as long as you satisfy your clients’ requirements, you continue to earn money.
Final expense life insurance is a first-year commission product.
This means most of your income is paid up front in the first year. There are little renewals coming in each year after that.
In my career selling final expense insurance, I wanted to diversify my income stream with a business model providing passive income.
That business was recruiting insurance agents to sell final expense and other products.
Recruiting Builds Passive Income
And while there is a VERY active upfront investment training agents to succeed, long-term agents need less help, and the income earned from their production (called overrides) requires less of my active effort.
After 5 years, I earn almost all of my income from the production of other agents in my agency.
This translates into more time to spend with family and leisure activities.
Recruiting Not Required
Don’t want to recruit agents?
Not a problem!
You can learn how to sell insurance with products that provide significant renewal income.
Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage plans come to mind. Same with property and casualty insurance and car insurance.
At the end of the day, it IS realistic – with enough time and dedication – to earn a passive six-figure income from these products for YEARS… without having to sell new insurance policies.
Wealth And Prosperity
When I say wealth and prosperity, this doesn’t necessarily concern money.
Of course, money and income are why we get involved in this business!
I can tell you, what I didn’t see when I originally started in selling insurance is that wealth and prosperity is MORE than just money.
I’m at a position where I’m effectively semi-retired, and I’m young (35 years old as of February 2020).
But please understand.
The ONLY reason that I’ve gotten to this point is because of the hard work I put in up front. I paid the price!
I Simply Persevered
Even when I failed out of the business, I persevered. Now, since I’ve stuck with the insurance business for as long as I have, I am harvesting the fruits of my early labor.
I’m able to do this because I’ve committed to the process of what was taught to me when I first got started.
I share this with you because I know that you can see and achieve prosperity, too.
A commitment to learning how to sell insurance may provide you all you need and desire.
That’s the great thing about learning how to sell insurance. It’s more than just a job… and it’s more than just a career!
It can free you to do so much that you would not normally be able to do when you work for somebody else.
As I do a lot of YouTube interviews talking to top producers, I’ve noticed a similar theme in their lives.
Many convey the same points I do when talking about their lifestyle.
Now that you understand WHY the insurance business is great, let’s talk about what a day in the life of an insurance agent is REALLY like.
The goal of this section is to convey what you can expect if you start to sell insurance or decide to get licensed.
Getting The Day Started
An insurance agent is a salesperson.
This means they’re actively visiting “prospects” (people who are potentially interested in buying an insurance product) on a day-to-day basis.
Prospecting is the MOST important activity an insurance producer can do.
It’s not like sitting in the office processing paperwork and gossiping around the water cooler.
This is a social business, and it is all about seeing the people.
Scheduling Their Day
Many insurance producers get up very early in the morning, and have their day planned in advance.
In some circumstances, they’ve preset their appointments.
For example, they called their prospects the night before to set up their appointments for the current day.
For many agents, they start seeing prospects around 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM.
What An Insurance Sales Call Is Like
During each sales call, we spend time getting to know the prospect.
This is called “rapport-building,” meaning you’re “breaking the ice,” and getting to know the prospect.
After that, insurance agents transition to asking underwriting-related questions.
If you sell life insurance, you’ll ask about the prospect’s health, then present what we have to offer to them.
Then, they decide to buy or not.
If they have objections to buying, we rebuttal them to come to a mutually beneficial outcome.
Finally, whether we sell the deal or not, we wrap up the appointment and then go on to the next one.
Where To Find Sales Presentations
Now, if you don’t have preset appointments, agents will work purchased or self-generated insurance leads.
Agents show up at the door unannounced to ask for an appointment on the spot or to set it for another day.
Even to this day, you have agents that will go out and actually prospect cold for appointments, whether that’s house-to-house or business-to-business.
They repeat this process over and over again until they hit their presentation activity goals.
Activity Is King For Insurance Salesmen!
Let there be no confusion!
Agents LIVE AND DIE off of how many presentations they complete every week.
Because the number of presentations determines their financial position over the long haul.
If they routinely FAIL to hit those numbers… then they will fail out of the business.
As a reminder, seeing insurance prospects IS the cornerstone to success of insurance salesmen.
After The Presentation
Once agents finish their appointments, they go home or to the office and process paperwork and applications.
They ensure their are no errors on the application, then fax or upload the apps to the insurance carrier.
They may even make phone calls and set up appointments for the following day.
If you’re selling non-1-call-close products like annuities, you may spend time after appointments developing proposals for your prospects.
A Predictable Process
Surprisingly, the insurance business is not unique in terms of the products or the process.
In fact, it’s actually routine and predictable if you follow the process.
What’s unique are the people we deal with. You never know what you’re going to see! Some of us insurance agents have funny insurance stories.
Bottom line, learning how to sell insurance successfully is work!
You have to get up, see prospects, deal with rejection, and on occasion, deal with success. It is an emotional roller coaster some days.
Remember that your biggest competition is the man looking back at you in the mirror.
It is yourself and your mindset!
Now let’s discuss the top 5 qualities of successful insurance agents.
Additionally, I’ll describe qualities that don’t matter much, which may come as a surprise .
There are common traits that will show you how to be successful at learning how to sell insurance over the long-term.
I’ve interviewed dozens of agents on my YouTube channel. And I know agents across the country in different niches that sell different insurance products.
What’s funny is that in doing these interviews for my best-selling book on top producers, I’ve come to find that there is MORE in common with successful insurance agents than there are differences.
My goal is to uncover how top-producing insurance agents succeed at selling insurance in a short, straight-to-the-point way.
That way you can better understand how to mimic those behaviors and experience your own success.
A Service Orientation
Successful insurance agents believe that what they’re doing is MORE than just a job.
They believe in their heart of hearts they are doing GOOD work.
In a sense, some of the BEST insurance salesmen are evangelists by nature.
They want people to know how insurance helps solve problems.
Bottom line, they have passion and want to help!
Empathy Is Important
If you want to be successful at learning how to sell insurance, you must have empathy for your clients.
If you have contempt… if you DON’T like the people you’re selling to… OR if you don’t like people in general…
You’re NOT going to do well in the insurance business.
What if you’re selling a product or market you don’t enjoy?
My advice is to switch to another line or market IMMEDIATELY.
Switching to a strategy you enjoy makes it easier to retain the necessary service orientation mindset so crucial to success.
In exchange, you’ll get referrals from happy clientele and perform better in sales presentations.
All successful top producing insurance agents are self-disciplined.
Many do not report regularly to a superior.
Plus, they rarely have management directing their day-to-day lives.
Sure, sometimes top producer have mentors. They receive guidance, support, and direction.
The Buck Stops With You!
But ultimately… the MOST successful insurance salesmen know their 100% responsible for their business.
Self-disciplined insurance agents do not procrastinate. They work, even if they’d rather not.
They understand all the drawbacks of the business. The disappointment we all face, the rejection we experience.
All agents experience this. And top producers discipline themselves to accept that.
They deal with adversity through accepting that it’s normal and continuing the process anyways.
Another vital character trait in selling insurance successfully is to have long-term consistency.
Selling insurance is a battle.
Every day is a battle in the field with your prospects. It’s a battle with yourself, too.
All these daily battles add up month over month, year over year.
At times, you’ll get discouraged.
You can do everything right selling insurance and STILL struggle to make money.
That is because people are normally taught that if you do things correctly, then things turn out well.
That’s not always the case in insurance sales.
Selling is as much an art as it is a science. And there are circumstances that won’t go our way and are out of our control.
I’ve talked thousands of new agents. And many are flashes in the pan. They write a lot of business at first, but then they run up against difficulties.
They run up against resistance, and they fall off. It happens more commonly than you’d think.
Whereas the agent that consistently cranks it out year over year experiences the kind of success we ALL want.
My story in this business is that I came in and did well in my first 12 months.
Then, I started to alter what was proven to work (not good =).
I started thinking I was SMARTER than the sales and marketing system that I was taught.
At first, I just did what I was told, like a good soldier.
But then I started to become creative. I started to think of different ways to do things.
Ultimately, I failed out of the business inside of a year.
At my bottom, I had less than $100 to my name with about $20,000-$30,000 in debt. I had a wife, a newborn, and no idea what I was going to do.
Quit Insurance, Worked In Corporate America
Before selling insurance, I never had a real job. So the whole experience of taking orders from management was new to me.
Working for Corporate America, I found I was selling a product I didn’t like or believe in, but I had to do it anyway to support my family.
Very early in my job, I decided that life wasn’t worth living under those conditions.
While frustrating at times, I decided that selling insurance was still a LOT better than selling something that I didn’t believe in.
When I got back in the insurance business, I vowed that I would follow what always had worked and stop screwing with the system.
Thankfully, I’ve never returned to Corporate America and have experienced success ever since!
Here’s my point: persistence is key.
You Cannot Give Up!
Count on seriously considering quitting selling insurance at some future point when you decide to sell insurance. Many times this struggle happens early in your career.
I say this because it’s natural for many people to second-guess their insurance career when things aren’t going smoothly.
One top producers once said…
“If you want to be successful in this business, you just have to survive.”
There’s a LOT of truth to that.
Surviving means being persistent despite the odds.
In a way, success in insurance sales comes down to having faith in the system. and faith in yourself!
You have to have faith that if you just keep going, despite everything telling you not to.
Great Agents Are Activity-Oriented
Bottom line, learning how to sell insurance successfully is all about how many people you can talk to and present to.
In fat, a mediocre agent whose sales skills aren’t the best but completes 15 appointments a week consistently WILL experience MORE success than the charismatic “Tony Robbins” type of salesperson that can sell ice to Eskimos, but only completes HALF the same presentations.
Top producers are activity-oriented. They understand selling insurance is a numbers game.
That doesn’t mean they’re no good at selling. They work on their sales skills, but understand activity is the driving force behind success.
Unnecessary Traits For Success In Insurance Sales
It’s important to understand this.
These 5 character traits – a service orientation, self-discipline, consistency, persistence, and an activity-orientation – are all you need to have long-term success in learning how to sell insurance.
So what character traits aren’t important?
For example, you don’t have to be an extrovert.
Personally, I’m an introvert. I grew up shy. As a teenager, I was afraid to order a pizza over the phone.
Luckily, everything is learnable in insurance sales.
You can be a complete dork like I was, and still do great!
As long as you have the capacity to learn, apply yourself, and not exhibit fear when it comes time to testing what you’ve learned.
Regarding my introversion, I taught myself how to display sociability. I’m comfortable talking to strangers.
This is all learned behaviors you can pick up. You don’t have to be an extrovert or innately sociable to experience success selling insurance.
Other unnecessary character traits:
- You don’t have to be a natural closer like the stock brokers in Boiler Room.
- Also, genius-level intellect is unnecessary.
There’s a lot of examples of insurance salesmen with mediocre intelligence doing really well, because they work hard.
They come from a background where hard work is a virtue. They apply themselves with a simple product, see the people, and rinse and repeat.
What about having a network of people?
Again, not as important as you’d think.
If you’re like me starting, I didn’t know a lot of people to talk insurance with.
So I decided to leverage a lead generation system that put me in front of interested prospects.
You can do the same, too, for many insurance markets.
Bottom line, successfully selling insurance is all about applying what you know consistently.
In this section, I’m answering the question: “How much money can an agent make selling insurance?”
First, you’re in FULL control of how much money you want to make.
It’s true. You DO write your own check when you sell insurance.
In fact, it’s a good idea to research what the best paying insurance jobs are as a part of your due diligence.
Whether you want to make an average or exceptional income doesn’t matter.
Either way, you decide how to go about doing so.
You Write Your Own Check
The beautiful thing about learning how to sell insurance is you can level up your career as you gain experience and confidence.
You can sell higher dollar insurance products to more lucrative prospects. I know many who do and earn millions of dollars annually.
In fact, I just got off the phone with a new recruit, and he told me the guy that he knows, a couple neighborhoods over that sells annuities.
He gets referred business from a couple of a Fortune 100 companies.
The guy writes over $2,000,000-$3,000,000 in annuity commissions a year! Nice!
Now, is it easy to just flip the switch and make it rain money?
No. It takes time, investment, and energy.
Remember, many of the people who get to that point of success simply are here because they just never gave up on themselves. They kept going.
First Year Commission Versus Renewal-Driven Commission
Let’s talk about some of the different ways one can make a living learning how to sell insurance.
First, some products pay a large, upfront commission.
We call these first-year commission-driven products.
Second, some products pay commission over multiple years.
These are renewal-driven products.
Let’s dive into both of these a little more.
First-Year Commission-Driven Products
First-year commission-driven products include products like:
- Term insurance,
- Burial insurance,
- Universal life insurance
- Mortgage protection insurance, and
With these products, most if not all the commission you make is within the first-year of selling the policy.
Some products like final expense and some universal life policies may offer renewals.
But renewals with first-year driven products isn’t very good.
Depending on the type of product, you may make 1% to 10% on average for renewals.
For example, if you write $100,000 in final expense business, you receive $7,000 a year in renewal commissions.
Not a lot, right?
If you’re looking for passive or renewal income, you’ll need to create and grow an agency. Or sell renewal-based products (more on that later).
The opposite of a first-year commission-driven product is a renewal-driven product.
As the name implies, renewal-driven products pay over the course of many years. Some pay for life as long as the client’s policy is in force.
There are 2 popular renewal-driven products. They are:
- Medicare products like Medicare Supplements or Medicare Advantage, and
- Home and auto insurance products.
These products don’t pay a high commission the first year. Many times, payout ranges between $200-300 bucks.
Of course, it depends on the product sold.
I’ll focus specifically on Medicare.
Most Medicare products pay $200-$300 each year you keep the business on the books.
Now, why would somebody be interested in a product where you get that money slower over time?
In many cases, total commission over time for renewal products is GREATER than first-year commission from first-year payout driven products.
Final expense is a perfect example.
Your average case probably pays $600-$700 on final expense.
In the first five years, you’re probably going to get paid $900 total with $700 paid within the first year.
Whereas, with Medicare, you’re probably going to get paid $1,500 total if you can keep it on the books for six years.
That doesn’t include the potential for more income if you renew the client with another carrier.
Renewals On Medicare Example
For example, say the first business you wrote on it has a price increase.
Let’s say you have Mutual of Omaha supplement and the price increased in the third year.
Your client thinks it’s too expensive, so you switch your client over to Aetna or New Era.
Now, you start that six-year renewal stream all over again!
For example, when you have 500 Medicare supplements, that is 500 x $300, equaling $150,000/year with minimal service work.
Nice! And that’s “before getting out of bed” money.
The ORIGINAL Passive Income Business Model
Unlike a lot of other businesses, learning how to sell insurance is one of the original passive-income base businesses.
Given enough time and focus, you can literally passively generate six figures in income from selling insurance.
By no means am I suggesting that everybody reading this article will make it in the insurance business.
In fact, most of you reading will fail.
I’m not trying to be a jerk.
It’s just that the insurance business has a funny way of taking out 90 percent or more of the people who try to be successful.
Grit Is Required
It takes a level of grit, pig-headed self-discipline, and determination to be successful selling insurance.
However, if you can survive… if you can commit yourself to the process… you may not make the kind of money I’m talking about right out the gate, but the truth is that the sky is the limit…
IF you survive!
Many of the top producers that make millions of dollars in this business are doing so simply because they survived their early years of struggle.
They started off with meager products. They weren’t dealing with the best of the best or the VIP clients. They worked their way up.
The insurance business usually takes more time to get comfortable in. Sure, there are people who started out great. But, most of us take a long time to become successful.
Legendary Insurance Salesmen Ben Feldman
Ben Feldman, once the Guiness World Record holder of total insurance premium and volume sold, started in insurance in the debit business.
The debit business requires agents to go door-to-door selling at the time 5 and 10 cent per week policies.
For 9 years… nine years… Ben sold this way until a manager noticed his talent and told him:
“Stop. Get into the business market. Sell insurance to business owners.”
John Savage, another great insurance salesperson, drifted through the business until he married and took the business seriously.
Many of us fall into the “slow-starter” category. Don’t discount that there is a process. There is a ladder, a pathway to success.
It’s part of the process. Give yourself the time necessary to see success.
This section will cover the different types of insurance products a new or experienced insurance agent may sell.
I discuss the different products into 3 different categories.
Learning how to sell insurance successfully means you must decide on what product works best for you.
My goal is discuss the pros and cons of each product. That way you’ll have a better understanding which insurance products to sell.
Let’s get started!
Selling Life Insurance
Life insurance is an insurance product that pays money to a beneficiary when the insured dies.
However, some life insurance provides benefits while still living. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.
The most common life insurance products in terms of the markets you can sell are the following:
Selling final expense insurance is that market I have the most experience with.
Final expense is life insurance sold as a convenient way to pay for a person’s final expenses such as the cost of burial or cremation.
Low-income seniors and disabled individuals are the primary purchasers of final expense insurance.
These policies are “simplified issue.” This means no medical exams required.
Even better, most final expense carriers issue instant yes/no decisions upon completing a phone interview of electronic application.
Clients appreciate the convenience of how quickly they get coverage as well as the peace of mind they receive.
Here’s some of the reasons why I like final expense:
- It’s a mass market with millions of prospects
- More people now than ever are uninsured or not insured.
- The senior population will grow substantially over the next 20 years.
I’ve got lots of videos on the business if you’d like to learn more about that.
With mortgage protection, you are selling to younger people instead of retired and disabled individuals.
Our angle to sell mortgage protection life insurance is based on our prospect recently buying a new home.
With a new home purchase comes a new mortgage.
And if our client dies prematurely, our product pays a lump-sum cash benefit to the survivors to pay off outstanding debts and replace income.
This way, the surviving family can avoid eviction and foreclosure much more easily.
Life Event Marketing
The mortgage protection market is great because we target prospects experiencing a major life event.
Personally, I’m big on teaching agents how to sell insurance based on “life event” marketing.
Because major life events open up our prospects’ minds to buying life insurance.
Mortgage protection is a fantastic life event market.
If there is a downside to mortgage protection, it’s more difficult generating mortgage protection leads than ever before.
Sadly, there isn’t as many prospects as there was before the Great Recession hit.
Overall, it’s still a great business if you find enough leads to keep you busy.
You can sell term insurance to all different kinds of markets.
For example, a great market to sell term insurance to is business owners.
One of the biggest motivations for people to buy insurance is when they have heavy financial obligations.
For example, let’s say a business owner needs a bank loan.
Or, they have an estate problem where taxes will take apart the business and all his family’s net worth.
Life insurance acts as liquidity. It will pay off the loan and Uncle Sam so as to retain the family business.
Additionally, many business owners run so hard they never stop to think about life insurance and retirement planning.
Disability insurance is a great market. Disability insurance pays a benefit when somebody gets hurt and can’t work.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care is designed to pay a nursing home or assisted living facility if the insured requires 24/7 hospitalization.
Group Insurance Sales
Beyond 1-on-1 sales, you can prospect for insurance in group settings.
For example, you can go to employers, large and small, selling group benefits like life and health insurance.
Selling to groups provides scale and leverage difficult to match in a 1-on-1 market.
Prior to the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare), health insurance was a great market. However, post-Obamacare, the individual market has all but disappeared.
Like Medicare, individual health insurance was a renewal-based commission product. An insurance salesman could build a large book of business and live off of the renewals.
Unfortunately, most healthcare providers have either stopped offering products or completely eliminated commission payouts.
Medicare policies are sold to people who are 65 and older.
There are two types of products Medicare recipients can select.
First is selling Medicare Supplements.
Simply put, Medicare Supplements cover much of what Original Medicare doesn’t.
Second is selling Medicare Advantage.
Medicare Advantage is a program administered by a private company to augment what Medicare normally offers.
There’s incredible sales opportunities selling Medicare insurance.
I completed an interview with an insurance agent writing 15 to 20 Medicare Advantage policies each week!
So, should you sell Medicare Supplements or Medicare Advantage?
The answer might well be BOTH.
That way, you can sell those who are interested in one product but not the other.
As far as commission goes, all Medicare products are renewal-based.
That means you make commissions on auto-drive as long as you retain your clients.
There’s one agent selling insurance successfully named Christopher Westfall.
Specializing in Medicare Supplements only, he has thousands upon thousands of clients, making MILLIONS a year in commission.
How’d he do it?
Constant focus and hard work for 10+ years.
Financial-Grade Insurance Products
Financial-grade insurance products offer benefits similar to what one would get in a mutual fund without the risk of losing a penny of principle.
Have you heard of “annuities” before?
In our selling annuities program, we teach agents to market to seniors concerned about losing money if the stock market collapses.
All remember bad times, such as the dot.com crash and the Great Recession, and want to protect what they’ve worked so hard to accumulate.
Their big concern is the risk of outliving their money.
In this section, we discuss different ways new or experienced agents selling insurance can market for prospects.
Know this up front…
There is no perfect marketing method.
However, there are pros and cons for each method you need to know before you invest your time and money.
By the end of this section, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of insurance marketing works best for your goals.
Let’s discuss warm market prospecting.
Up front, some will have resistance towards this prospecting strategy. That’s fine, as I wasn’t comfortable with it either.
However, there are definite pros to doing it, so let’s dive in.
What is your “warm market?”
If you’re new, think of your circle of influence.
This includes your friends, family, Facebook friends, employees, past employers, people you go to Church with, etc.
The warm market prospecting strategy targets these people in your circle of influence to discuss insurance products and how you may help them.
Odds are they’ll agree to a meeting. Why? Because they know who you are and they like you.
Pros Of Warm Market Prospecting
What’s the big advantage to warm market prospecting?
Friends, family, and associates and more likely to meet you than a stranger off the street.
Additionally, odds are they’re more open-minded to your insurance offer than a complete stranger.
Since selling insurance successfully requires quantity and quality appointments, warm marketing is great to start with.
First, you get to “practice” your sales presentation on the most understanding prospects.
Second, since your sphere of influence is more inclined to help you, many will provide more referrals than your average prospect.
When targeting your warm market, you’re working with people that have the the highest likelihood of buying.
You’re working a market where you can practice and get better at your craft without the threat of spending a lot of money on leads.
Warm Market Drawbacks
The biggest drawback to warm market prospecting is the mental block.
My father is a successful business owner who retired at 49.
I asked him, “What is one piece of advice that would you give me to be successful?”
He said, “Never hire friends or family.”
I’ve construed this to mean that I should never do business with friends or family, and I’ve more or less stuck to that principle.
Now, my experience isn’t gospel. Many can do business with friends and family without issue.
However, as I’ve learned in my father’s business, things go awry. And important personal relationships can permanently break.
Nevertheless, you must decide for yourself if warm market prospecting is a good idea or not.
If it’s not, don’t worry.
There’s a lot of other methods out there that work just fine.
Seminar marketing is a fantastic way to sell insurance successfully.
It also allows you to exhibit your expertise and generate better-than-usual sales opportunities.
I teach a system of seminar marketing for final expense agents on how to get final expense business without spending any money on leads.
One of the biggest advantages with a seminar marketing system is that you develop low- to no-cost, high-quality insurance leads.
Incredibly, you can get very low cost or cost-free leads.
What’s great about seminars is that the speaking experience gives you a celebrity-type appeal.
My sales trainer friend Claude Whitacre says that seminars allow you to become a celebrity.
He says you develop rapport and trust before you even talk to these people, and by the time you sit down with them, there is a much higher closing ratio.
What If I’m Afraid Of Public Speaking?
Simple solution – get over yourself.
Executing a successful seminar marketing strategy isn’t about becoming fearless. It’s about managing your fears so they aren’t a big deal.
And the great thing is there’s not a lot of competition in seminar marketing, as most people list fear of public speaking above fear of death.
Now, seminar marketing has become harder in some markets.
For example, annuity seminars in Florida.
I’ve heard a lot of agents groan that it used to be great, and it’s not anymore.
There’s just too many “plate lickers” and competition speaking, reducing results.
Paid insurance leads is a very popular form of marketing.
For example, working final expense leads, you can do direct mail leads or telemarketing leads.
You can hire a telemarketer or call on businesses to preset appointments for you.
There is also internet lead generation using Facebook, Google, or YouTube.
The list is endless.
What works depends on your insurance market.
For example, I know in final expense sales, direct mail is king.
Compared to Medicare Supplement leads, direct mails great, but telemarketing works well, too.
It just depends. My recommendation is to find an organization or mentor doing the business like you want and duplicate their strategy.
Cold calling is defined as prospecting over the phone cold or cold canvassing door-to-door.
The pros of cold calling is that it’s free. The con is that it is cold calling!
Personally, I think it works great. I’ve seen excellent results cold prospecting to businesses.
Like you, many business owners cold call to get business.
Because of that, they respect people that call on them because they understand the nerve it takes to do so.
Best Prospecting Method?
My favorite method depends on the product.
I love direct mail leads for final expense. I really like seminar marketing, as well.
If it’s viable, I love opportunities that preset your appointment for you.
In a lot of markets, you’re going to have to buy leads, set appointments yourself, or hire somebody else to do it.
It just comes down to whatever it is you’re selling.
I’m a fan of duplicating what ALREADY works. So find someone you can shadow.
In this section, I break down the different ways you can learn how to sell insurance.
Then, we discuss the actual insurance sales presentation I teach my insurance agents.
I’ll go over how you would go about selling your product with my “four-step strategy.”
Let’s get started!
Face To Face
The majority of insurance is sold is face-to-face.
Selling face-to-face is the traditional strategy that still works effectively.
Whether your sell mass-market products like final expense or lucrative, multi-million dollar deals, face-to-face is the customary medium to sell to insurance prospects.
And this is despite the technological disruptions and upheavals experienced in many industries over the past few decades.
Selling Insurance Over The Phone
More and more agents are interested in how to sell insurance over the phone.
Telephonic sales represent around 10 to 15 percent of the marketplace.
Telephone sales follows the same selling strategy that face-to-face does. The only difference is you are not in front of the prospect.
Leads are generated by TV ads, direct mailers, or telemarketing.
This approach works well, and we’re seeing more interest each passing year.
One Call Versus Multi-Call
Before we get to the actual presentation, we need to cover the 2 ways you can sell insurance.
The first way is the “one-call close.”.
The second way is the “multi-call close.”
What’s the difference?
It all comes down to when the prospect commits to buy.
One call closing gets buyer commitment on the first meeting.
And as you imagined, multi-call closing takes several meetings before achieving commitment.
Typically it depends on WHAT you’re selling.
Smaller policies are usually one-call closes. Larger policies can take more than one meeting to close.
The more technical, involved, and lucrative the deal is, the more visits are required to seal the deal.
Take annuity sales.
My annuity agents move hundreds of thousands of dollars into annuity-based products from largely individual retirement accounts.
This lump sum represents a person’s lifetime savings.
To close an annuity, we need to reconcile many moving parts.
We need to get signatures, deal with a financial advisor at times, and wait on the bank to wire the money.
Because so much occurs in an annuity sale, most aren’t closed on the first call.
Whereas selling mass-market insurance products like final expense insurance, Medicare supplements, or mortgage protection insurance, all agents should close on the first call.
These products are simple in nature. They’re simple to understand and easier to commit to on the first sales presentation.
Well, it just comes down to what you’re more comfortable with.
I’ve always been a one-call close guy. I’m straight to the point and like to get a yes/no answer ASAP.
Plus, closing on one-call simplifies scaling presentation volume.
For example, final expense.
If you’d like, you can scale your activity to 30 to 40 presentations weekly, since it only takes 1 visit to get a yes/no answer.
Whereas with annuities, there’s more involved. You’re looking at financial statements and creating proposals.
With more complexity means more time, translating into multiple presentations.
Usually, a higher-commission insurance product means multiple sales calls per prospect relative to lower commission products.
Basics Of The Insurance Sales Presentation
There are 4 different parts to every insurance sales presentation. Let’s detail them all.
Part 1: Rapport And Introduction
The first part of learning how to sell insurance is where you develop “rapport.”
Rapport means “breaking the ice.” While many times you meet as strangers, a good salesperson knows how to befriend prospects which lowers sales resistance.
Once rapport is established, you give the client a formal introduction, explaining who you are and why it matters to him.
This is akin to “setting the table.” You are explaining your agenda and helping your client understand why you’re there and how you can help.
Clients who know what to expect helps facilitate the presentation in your favor.
Part 2: Fact-Finding And Pre-Qualifying
The second part of an insurance sales presentation centers around fact-finding or “pre-qualifying.”
We want to gather facts from the prospect. You’ll ask questions like:
- Who are they?
- What’s their life like?
- What do they want to accomplish?
At this point, I like to ask a lot of open-ended insurance-based questions. This allows me to delve inside the prospect’s psyche and understand what motivates them.
I seek understanding to their underlying emotional motivation to determine if this client is qualified or not.
After asking open-ended questions, I transition to discussing health if we’re selling a product that underwrites on health.
Also, since most carriers require premium payment, I ask for a budget commitment that’s easily affordable to them.
Asking this information upfront helps determine if the sales call is worth our time.
I end the presentation and move to the next call as quickly as possible.
Part 3: Presentation
One we build rapport, formally introduce ourselves, and collect preliminary information, we present and position what we offer.
In this section, I relate how my product solves their concerns expressed earlier. Then, I tell and show them reasons why my insurance product is the superior choice.
It’s also a good idea to share stories of current clients in similar situations who had the same problems and now don’t because of your efforts.
Bottom line, the presentation is straight to the point, driving home why we can solve their insurance problem better than the competition.
Part 4: Closing
After the client agrees our product is the superior choice (they tell us that), we make the offer and close.
If there exists objections, we rebuttal any concerns and continue asking for the sale.
Assuming the client agrees to move forward and complete the insurance application, we “cool down” the presentation, meaning we shift our conversation towards non-insurance talk.
Then we ask for referrals and shake hands.
We are done =).
Let’s talk about how an insurance salesman gets paid.
Boiled down, there are 3 basic compensation programs for insurance agents.
We’ll describe each program, giving you the pros and the cons.
Then, I’ll share my opinions on which is compensation program is best for new insurance agents.
One way insurance agents receive compensation is through a salary only arrangement.
Admittedly, this is a unique arrangement rarely seen.
And if you come across a salary-only setup, it’s based on a stipend or draw for a set period of time, usually for a few months.
Why are most insurance agent salaries temporary?
Because it’s designed to give new agents a financial boost in getting up and running selling insurance.
One of the biggest financial incentives of the insurance business is that the income ceiling is non-existent.
You can write your own check. In exchange, you’ll have to be paid on performance.
The truth is that if you’re any good at learning how to sell insurance, you do not want your income capped at a lower salary than compared to pay-on-performance.
Next on the compensation discussion are programs paying salaries plus commission.
For agents working in career shops like New York Life, this compensation program is common.
Here’s how it works.
Over a period of time (months or several years), your compensation is based around a salary and commission on product sales.
Initially, the salary is higher and the commission payments lower.
Over time, salary is reduced in exchange with higher commission opportunity.
In most cases, you end up with a 100% straight-commission compensation program.
Getting paid on straight commission should be your preferred way of compensation.
Because any salary payout in exchange lowers the ceiling on your earnings.
Sure, you get certainty in income, but you never realize the true financial potential of selling insurance successfully without 100% commission compensation.
If you’re on a 100% straight commission program, you “eat what you kill.”
The buck stops with you. You are paid on performance, and not simply “showing up.”
What’s Compensation Program Is Best For New Agents?
Since learning how to sell insurance is inherently entrepreneurial, most new agents should seek a straight commission.
Sometimes, new agents partner with an agency that offers a salary or reduced commissions in exchange for “perks” like access to free leads.
What’s the problem with this set-up?
Long-term, as producers grow in experience and production, they lose out on the upper echelons of income.
Your “perks” become your downfall. All things have a cost, after all.
Pick the straight commission route as quickly as possible.
Yes, it’s scary to start learning how to sell insurance with no guaranteed income. But long-term, you’ll be glad you did.
In this section, I describe how to maximize sales results no matter what insurance product you sell.
Below are 4 selling insurance tips I’ve discovered I’d like to share with you.
All are based on “in-the-trenches” selling with insurance prospects since 2011, and training more than 1,000 agents since 2013.
Follow these 4 tips and you’ll likely increase your odds of short- and long-term success selling insurance successfully.
Let’s get started.
If you’re new, good agencies will beat into your brain that activity is king in learning how to sell insurance.
No matter what you sell – health insurance, life insurance, P&C, etc. – the more people you talk to, the more opportunities for business.
That’s right. Maximal activity is MORE important than excellent sales skills.
In fact, I’d prefer recruiting an agents with average sales skills but with high activity, versus a “Tony Robbins” charismatic type that is lazy.
See The People!
As an insurance salesperson, your purpose in life is hitting your activity goals EVERY DAY.
Accomplishing activity goals daily is the first step to hitting your long-term monthly and annual income goals.
Remember, the outcome of each sales call is an unknown variable. However, with a high level of weekly presentations, we can derive a predictable closing percentage that we can trust.
Level Up Your Market Or Product
While doing more activity is the simplest way to increase production, you may also consider targeting a more lucrative market.
For example, maybe you’re selling final expense and interested in annuity sales because the first year commission on average is multiples higher.
You can also sell multiple products to your same insurance sales prospects.
Although new agents commonly sell multiple products, I advise against it.
As a new agent, it is overwhelming learning even one product, let alone multiple products.
Adding more products means you need to understand more underwriting and carrier knowledge.
As a trainer to over 1,000 agents, being responsible for a vast quantity of knowledge BEFORE doing what’s most important – selling insurance – is fast way to exit the business.
However, as time passes and you develop expertise in your core product, it is easier to initiate cross-selling into your sales strategy.
What if you come across a cross-selling opportunity?
Refer it out for a split. Join the agent on the sales call to learn how the product is sold.
This is a great opportunity to learn AND earn.
Focus on one product and market is critical for the beginner.
Wait until you can chalk up a year’s worth of experience selling your primary product before looking to cross-sell.
A lot of people get involved in the insurance business, and they think,
“I want to get the cheapest leads possible. I don’t want to spend too much money on leads.”
The problem with this mentality is this…
You get what you pay for!
If you’re an experienced agent, you know how true this is.
It’s rare to find life insurance leads that are low-cost and high quality.
And many times those low-cost, high-quality leads are illegal.
For example, robo-calling was a cheap yet effective lead generating method several years back.
Nowadays, they just plain-old stink because you can get fined, or have your license potentially revoked.
Do Marketing Already Proven
The best way to select an insurance marketing strategy is to survey what other successful producers in your niche do.
Ask those with tenure in the business what works best to generate the highest-quality leads.
For example, with final expense, I can tell you direct mail is king.
In Medicare Supplements, you might be doing telemarketing leads, but direct mail works well, too.
On the flip side, experienced agents can save you thousands of dollars via telling you what leads do NOT work, too.
Don’t Step Over A Dollar To Pick Up A Penny
Sadly, this is a common mentality agents have concerning their insurance lead generation strategy.
Remember, this is a serious business.
Give yourself the BEST opportunity to do the BEST that you can with the respective product that you’re selling.
And part of that is choosing a marketing program that does a good job in generating high-quality leads, even at a higher price.
Many times, it is worth it.
The final section provides tips and steps on how to start getting your insurance license.
The first thing to do is to get licensed.
If you haven’t done any research up to this point, it’s a pretty simple process.
The first step to getting your insurance license is to do pre-licensing.
Then, you take a test at a local testing facility.
From there, we get our results based on that test.
How Does Insurance Exams Work In My State?
As with anything in life, ask Google.
Google usually knows!
To see how to start selling insurance and getting your license, Type “insurance sales exam” or “YOUR STATE HERE insurance license exam.”
For example, search “Tennessee life insurance exam,” and you’ll get several results.
The results cover steps to get licensed, and licensing requirements.
To get licensed, you’ve got to study.
Take a couple weeks to make sure you know the material.
Insurance exams are extensive, so take it seriously and study hard.
Research Your Opportunities
You may have already talked to an agency about how to get started selling insurance.
If this is true, I recommend putting on the brakes and give serious consideration to other insurance sales opportunities.
The good news is that you’re early enough in the process to figure out if your initial choice is best.
How To Find The Best Insurance Agency To Work For
The first thing to know is that the Internet is your best friend.
You can research different insurance agencies very quickly.
You can do research in the insurance sales job you’re interested in. Check out reviews and read about other organizations. Get insight.
If the people who failed out of this business spent time researching the best place to start their career, they may still be in the business.
NOTE: You may see “Insurance IMO” thrown around. This is an insurance marketing organization that may be a good fit on helping you learn how to start selling insurance. Definitely do not avoid researching.
Use YouTube, Too
I’d also recommend utilizing YouTube as another tool in your research into selling insurance.
I am a content creator on YouTube and discuss many of the same topics in this article in my videos.
Research different insurance markets and products. Take your time.
The insurance business isn’t going anywhere, but you need to make sure that your first choice is your best choice in learning how to starting selling insurance.
If you don’t do that, the potential for failure is HUGE.
It’s true. Many unnecessarily struggle successfully selling insurance because of a partnership with a bad insurance agency.
Interview Your Agency
Everyone with a pulse is recruited in the insurance business!
How does this impact you?
It means that most agency recruiters stop at nothing to sell you on how great their opportunity is.
Therefore, it’s VITAL that YOU interview the insurance agency, as much as they interview you.
Let’s say you work for New York Life or Northwestern Mutual. Or you’re looking at joining a multi-level marketing company.
My recommendation is to spend more of your attention on who your direct upline/manager is. Why? He is the one responsible for your success.
Get A Feel Of The Work Environment
Get a feel for the agents. What are they like? Friendly, serious, jerks?
If at all possible, get lunch with them to talk about their experiences. Ask them your thoughts on how to start selling insurance.
You may even consider asking to do a ride-along to see how the business is like in front of prospects.
Try to learn how the branch office helps develop you into a top-producing agent.
Bottom line, local support from your agency and your direct upline/manager is critical for your short- and long-term success.
Without support, odds of failure increase exponentially.
Lack Of Support Is A BIG Problem
Many times, agents I’ve recruited complain about their past training and support.
Sadly, their original agency partnership just didn’t have it.
The best agencies take no offense to any tough questions you ask.
In fact, they’ll appreciate your thoughtful questions because you display both awareness and seriousness about wanting to learn how to start selling insurance.
Once you decide which agency to join, you must commit 100% to your job selling insurance successfully.
There’s a great person that you should subscribe to on YouTube. The channel is named Christopher Westfall, which also is this person’s name. I briefly mentioned him in “Part 5” of this guide.
He is a Medicare supplement extraordinaire. He knows the Medicare business up and down. It’s all he does.
He is a multi-millionaire many times over because of his commitment to this business.
He talks commonly about how people in this business fail out because they don’t fully commit. They have a Plan B.
For example, they’ve got a spouse that makes an adequate income, so there is little need for the agent to perform at peak levels.
If we remove our options, safe zones, and alternatives, we have no other choice but to succeed.
Otherwise, we end up in a position to where we fail out entirely.
If you want any kind of success learning how to sell insurance, you have to burn the bridges.
I hope you enjoyed my how-to guide on selling insurance successfully.
If you are looking for a partner to develop you into a top-producing insurance agent, check out my national agency recruiting program to learn more.